Acording to several sources in Japan Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] has announced that he is retiring from professional boxing ending a career that began way back in 2000.
Sources have reported that Takayama isn't set to walk away from boxing all together, instead it appears that he is retiring from professional boxing and will begin to target the 2020 Olympic games, with the hopes of ending his career as an Olympic champion.
The Osakan warrior, a long term favourite of hardcore fight fans, has had a remarkable professional career winning WBC, IBF and WBO world titles, as well as the WBA "interim" title, at Minimumweigth and has been a fxture at the world scene for more than a decade. His career has seen him have FOTY contenders on a regular basis, with his 2014 war against Francisco Rodriguez Jr being widely regarded as the best fight that year.
Although other professionals have attempted to win Olympic medals, including Amnat Ruenroeng, none have announced their plans this far out. Essentially Takayama will have a lot of time to adapt to the amateur boxing rules, and will be the first Japanese fighter to attempt to go from the professional code to the amateur system, and could well shake up the way the amateur and professional ranks are seen in Japan.
Notably Takayama's decision has come whilst he is still the reigning WBO Minimumweight champion. What is expected to happen is that Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-4-6, 7) [福原 辰弥] will have his "interim" title upgraded to the full world title and that he will defend that title later in the year.
Whilst we'll miss watching Takayama in action in the pro-ranks we would love to wish him all the best in his dreams of becoming an Olympic gold medal winner.
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